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Daniel Ruth, Times Columnist

Daniel Ruth

Daniel Ruth has been scribbling away for four decades as a reporter, film critic, television critic and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Tampa Bay Times. He also has worked as a radio talk show host as well as an adjunct professor for the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Columbia College in Chicago. Daniel is a Peter Lisagor Award recipient for his columns in Chicago and has been honored by the Pinellas County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union with the Irene Miller Vigilance In Journalism Award.


  1. Daniel Ruth: Advice for sniping school board members — Grow up or go away


    There are certain jobs in elective office that carry with them a slightly higher expectation when it comes to how one behaves in public.

    For example, it probably wouldn't be a good thing if we were to learn Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren was a serial traffic scofflaw with a slew of overdue library books, to boot.

    The same holds true for members of the Hillsborough County School Board. We ought to have a reasonable belief those charged with overseeing the welfare of the community's children are serious, sober-minded, thoughtful stewards of the classroom....

    Hillsborough School Board members Tamara Shamburger, above, and April Griffin started off the brouhaha at a recent training session but it didn't end there. [Courtesy of Tamara Shamburger]
  2. Ruth: Spencer just a smoother version of old hatred


    It is a safe bet that Richard Spencer, the beefcake boy of bigotry, will show up on the University of Florida campus today accompanied by a Star Wars-esque bar scene of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites and antigovernment conspiracy theory survivalists.

    Think of this as Triumph of the Will meets Deliverance.

    So it is understandable, given the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., in August when these low-rent faux storm troopers assembled, that Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Alachua County for the duration of time Spencer will be sliming his toxic waste dump of rhetoric....

    Richard Spencer speaks at Texas A&M University in College Station last year. He is due to speak today at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
  3. Beautiful Hong Kong is pulsating with life and culture



    “Ah money, money, money!" the cabdriver exclaimed with no small sense of sarcasm in his Cantonese-accented English as he waved in the direction of the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, a city that revels in its reputation as an international financial capital.

    This was our first trip to Asia to visit our son, who has lived in Hong Kong for several years, and our expecting daughter-in-law....

    Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong. (Angela Ruth, Special to the Times)
  4. Ruth: A glimmer of hope for a Florida slavery memorial


    Better late than never, even if it has taken 152 years.

    You might recall that last year an effort in the Florida Legislature to create a slavery memorial on the grounds of the Capitol ran into a brick wall, otherwise known as Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the leading Civil War revisionist.

    Although the slavery memorial enjoyed unanimous support in the House, Baxley objected and argued he preferred monuments that celebrate people in a more "uplifting manner." And let's face it, being reminded of this whole slavery stuff is hardly an "Up With People" moment....

    Florida Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, left, objected to a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee. (Below, park rangers stand near one of three monuments commemorating the Confederate victory in 1864.) State Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, right, wants to create a slavery memorial on the grounds of the Capitol in Tallahassee.
  5. Ruth: As Trump World turns


    'Uh, Mr. President, we have a bit of a problem."

    "What is it Spicey, and why are you wearing a dress?"

    "Sir, Sean Spicer quit this miserable job months ago. I am your latest beleaguered press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders."

    "Well, what is it Huckleberry? I'm a very busy man feuding with everyone from the Brownies to the Dalai Lama. Can't that guy ever wear a suit?"

    "I have some breaking news, your Twitterness."...

    “Alas, Mr. President …”
  6. Daniel Ruth: How would 50,000 workers get around if Tampa lands Amazon?


    Apparently the nation is all agog with anxious anticipation over just where the massive Amazon will select to build a second headquarters.

    And the Tampa Bay area is preparing to join the growing mix of suitors trying to capture Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' eye. That's so cute.

    The project, dubbed Amazon HQ2, is looking for real estate large enough to accommodate an estimated $5 billion corporate campus of at least 8 million square feet of office space with room for future growth. The new facility will inject about 50,000 new jobs into the community paying an average of $100,000 a year. ...

    Tampa, St. Petersburg and a growing mix of suitors hope to capture the eye of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in his search for a city to host a second headquarters for the online retail giant. Its Seattle campus is pictured above.
  7. Ruth: Well-intended, naive St. Petersburg council wades into campaign finance


    And this, dearest reader, is why God created lawyers.

    No one has ever confused the St. Petersburg City Council with the Knights of the Roundtable meets the Brigadoon County Commission.

    But that didn't stop the visionaries on the council from attempting to right a wrong by standing foursquare in favor of free speech. Say, there's a Bunker Hill moment for you.

    Forget traditional City Council priorities such as potholes, rampant sewage spills and whatever that thing is going up along the waterfront....

    St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice speaks at a rally in support of a city ordinance to limit PAC contributions.
  8. Ruth: Life, liberty and the PSC


    If you have spent any time in this state, by now you have figured out the Florida Public Service Commission has about as much to do with providing "public service" as the Mayflower Madam did promoting celibacy.

    So it should come as little surprise Gov. Rick Scott would nominate Ritch Workman, a hustling former state legislator, to a cushy $131,000-a-year job on the PSC. His only expertise in utility regulation seems to be his extraordinary talent for cashing campaign checks from the state's power companies....

    Ritch Workman has been nominated to serve on the Public Service Commission.
  9. Daniel Ruth: David Straz as mayor? Only if he can embrace retail politics


    Perhaps the best way to think of David Straz is as sort of the Michael Bloomberg of the Big Guava, an immensely wealthy man who is noodling around a possible run to become mayor of Tampa.

    By all accounts the end of the Bob Buckhorn era in 2019 is tempting several people to think about running for mayor. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor seems all but certain to run. City Councilmember Mike Suarez has been humming "Hail To The Mayor" for years. His colleague Harry Cohen might take a shot. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik's name always gets bounced around. Former state Rep. Ed Narain and public relations executive Bill Carlson, along with architect Mickey Jacobs, also pop up as possible candidates....

    Former banker and Tampa philanthropist David Straz Jr. is considering running for mayor.
  10. Ruth: After Las Vegas massacre, what now?


    We are supposed to be a beacon to the world, the "indispensable" nation preaching the gospel of democracy and freedom and all the rest of the chorus from the amber waves of grain hymnal.

    We are all caught up over the controversy of standing for the national anthem at football games as a litmus test of patriotism in honor of our revered history and culture. Let us now invoke the genius of the Founding Fathers....

    Survivors comfort each other Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center
in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on people at a music festival.
  11. Ruth: Why were nursing home's voicemails to governor deleted?


    If we've learned anything during the Rick Scott years, it is that this is a governor to whom transparency and adherence to the state's public records and Sunshine Laws are about as welcome an intrusion as a caraway seed stuck under a denture.

    Compared to the Scott cone of silence, the Freemasons are gossipy blabbermouths.

    At last count, 11 elderly residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills have died in the wake of Hurricane Irma after the facility's air conditioning failed....

    Gov. Rick Scott, with Sen. Marco Rubio, talks about Hurrican Irma at a press conference in Doral on Sept. 6.
  12. Daniel Ruth: Go ahead with your crafty cocktails, but can't I have my Dewar's, too?


    This is probably the price to be paid for not being a beautiful person.

    For I am a simple man of simple tastes. I do not care for drinks of multiple colors and more than two ingredients. No good comes from libations of indeterminate hues and strange names invoking images of Lord of the Rings.

    These misgivings always seemed to work well in a city like Tampa, a blue collar, beer and a bump kind of place. And then the beautiful people started moving in with raised pinkie tastes and a preoccupation with "craft" this and "craft" that....

    The names and ingredients may come and go, but craft cocktails are a fixture at fine establishments such as Edison Food + Drink Lab in Tampa. Good luck ordering a Dewar’s and soda, though.
  13. Ruth: Another security breach, and everyone shrugs


    In a brief fit of rare snarkiness, the thought occurred to begin these hen-scratchings by posting my Social Security number, Internet passwords and blood type to save the hackers some precious time.

    But why bother? Those folks sitting in their jammies hunched over a keyboard somewhere in Bulgaria probably already have all that data. In case they missed something, let me help. The dogs' names are Riley and Gracie. Now you have just about everything. So glad to be of service....

  14. Daniel Ruth: Public money built Bucs' stadium, so let public sell tickets


    Who knew the Tampa Bay Bucs were actually the Daisies of Dale Mabry?

    It seems head coach Dirk Koetter got his hoopskirt all in a wad simply because, from time to time, attendees of Bucs games out at Hellooooo Sucker Stadium prefer to root, root, root for the opposing team. This had made the head coach of those manly men populating the Bucs roster all pouty.

    "A perfect day for me is going to be all Bucs jerseys in the lower bowl and the Bucs winning by one or more," the coach proclaimed....

    Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wants to do what it takes to ensure that those sitting in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium are wearing his team’s colors.
  15. Ruth: The Florida Legislature failed to protect seniors


    Florida loves its geezers — until they become annoyingly inconvenient.

    We've all seen the glitzy advertising aimed at senior citizens featuring robust, active retirees enjoying the carefree lifestyles of Florida's elder set. Golf. Tennis. Cocktail parties. Beautiful people, without a varicose vein in sight.

    And it is indeed a wonderful life. But don't get too old, or too infirm, or contract the most fatal geriatric affliction of all — too broke. Then you are simply a dead old coot drooling. Good luck. And goodbye....

    Andjelani Bernard, 6 plays in one of the many crowded hallways at John Hopkins Middle School on Sunday, September 10, 2017 in St. Petersburg. The school filled classrooms and hallways with  people evacuating before Hurricane Irma makes landfall. The shelter welcomes people from the area with pets and those with special needs.